The word wanderlust is used so much these days that it has become quite a cliché, however it describes best how I feel about travelling. I really have an urge to go and discover new places. I travel regularly but this time I travelled alone, for the first time. I started of small: a citytrip to London.
Travelling solo is something I have wanted to do for quite a while. The book 'How to travel solo?' has been on my bookshelves for two years already. I love to travel together with others and I think most of the travels I'll make will be with my boyfriend by my side, but travelling solo has its charms. London was a good first start.
This trip was quite unexpected and I booked it last-minute. I went to London for a theatre audition (I didn't make the cut, but I don't mind - in the end, I realized it wasn't for me - however, I loved the experience, it was quite the adventure!) and I decided to make a weekend from it. I left friday morning with the Eurostar and arrived at St-Pancreas, the international railway station close to King's Cross, by midday. On sunday evening, I was there again, to take the train home.
It was short and intense and I enjoyed every bit of it. Being alone in a city without knowing anybody gives you a special feeling, one that I quite liked. If you have travelled solo already, I'm sure you'll know what I mean. All possibilities are open, you do whatever you want to do and you don't have to think about anyone else.
My weekend existed only out of walking, purposely getting lost, taking a lot of subways and delicious food. I went to Trafalgar square, walked a long way next to the Thames (from South Bank to Tate Modern). In the evening I hang around at Piccadilly Cirus and Leicester Square where the city is full of light and live and around 9 o'clock in the evening I snuck into a bookstore, just because I could. I ate authentic Vietnamese (I love the Asian cuisine) in Chinatown and in other places where the food looked good.
I went to Notting Hill and found out that the famous book shop from the movie has become a tacky souvenir store. There was a cosy bazaar and I bought a beautiful old compass. I tasted a fantastic red velvet cake (something we don't have in Belgium) in one of the best bakeries around. And I just discovered many places by walking. If I liked it, I stayed.
I took a lot of pictures and selfies but mostly took the time to take everything in. If I felt good somewhere I just sat down to look around and enjoy the moment. I had been to London before but I saw so many new things. Being there by myself, it felt as if I walked around with a lovely secret. It was my own inside joke. I really enjoyed every part of my stay.
I don't think solo travelling is for everyone. I think there are a few characteristics you need to own if you like to enjoy travelling solo. I listed some things that I think are important for the solo traveller. These are no rules and I believe everyone knows for themselves if this way of travelling is something for you. But if you're still in doubt, this might help you.
You like being alone
Even though you love hanging out with friend, your boyfriend or family, you do need some time for yourself. I can't miss those moments alone. I need them to charge my batteries. A lot of people need time for themselves, but it's important you like being alone. .
You don't mind going out by yourself
I like it to go out for some coffee or lunch by myself. I just enjoy my drink or meal and read a book. If I want to do something, I'll do it, if I find company or not. It sounds quite logical and easy, but I know many people who really don't like doing these things. But, if you travel solo, you'll do things by yourself and you eat by yourself as well. If you know you'll feel uncomfortable all the time, it might not be the best choice to immediately go travelling by yourself.
An important note though: travelling solo doesn't mean constantly being alone. You can choose to be alone and there are definitely moments where you will be alone, but you can also meet so many people.